U.S. Adults Spend Eight Hours Monthly Coordinating Healthcare, Find System “Overwhelming”

New Survey from The Harris Poll Provides Patient Perspectives on Healthcare

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (May 17, 2023) – U.S. adults spend the equivalent of an entire eight-hour workday per month coordinating healthcare for themselves and/or their family or loved ones, according to a new patient experience survey conducted by The Harris Poll, on behalf of the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA).

“So much has changed in healthcare since the pandemic, and the focus has largely been on the strain that healthcare teams are experiencing,” AAPA CEO Lisa M. Gables, CPA, said. “Certainly, we have to address that as we know it impacts the resiliency and strength of our healthcare workforce. However, AAPA wanted to understand from the patient perspective what is and isn’t working in healthcare today.”

The survey also found that 65% of U.S. adults feel managing healthcare is “overwhelming” and “time-consuming.” This number jumps to 76% among younger adults aged 18 to 34. On average, patients who cannot get an appointment in the same week end up waiting just under a month for needed medical appointments.

Gables said understanding patient experiences is vital for physician associates/physician assistants (PAs) to identify solutions for improving access to care and overall patient outcomes.

“PAs are committed patient advocates, and to be a voice for patients, we must first understand the barriers patients face, how that is impacting their day-to-day life, and the long-term effects on both individuals and the healthcare system at large.”

The survey found that more than two in five adults (44%) have skipped or delayed care they needed in the past two years. This percentage is higher among Latino adults with 53% reporting they have skipped or delayed care.

Additional key findings from The Harris Poll-AAPA survey include:

The U.S. healthcare system is stretched thin. The public is worried about how this will impact their care in the future.

  • 73% of U.S. adults say the healthcare system fails to meet their needs in some way.
  • 71% worry that the demands on healthcare providers are too great.
  • 68% are concerned that healthcare workforce shortages will impact them as a patient; an equal proportion are concerned that the shortage will impact their family/loved ones.
  • 66% of adults feel that healthcare providers seem more rushed than they have been in the past, and nearly half of adults (47%) think their healthcare providers appear to be burned out/overburdened.
  • 30% say they have felt rushed during a healthcare appointment.

Delay of care is common. Interacting with the system – including paying for medical services – is a key factor in why people delay care.

  • 61% say they only seek healthcare when they are sick.
  • 44% of adults have skipped or delayed care in the past two years. The most common reasons for doing so were worry about the cost (40%) and inability take time away to see a provider due to other responsibilities (30%).
  • 60% of adults who skipped or delayed care say they experienced some kind of impact.
  • Nearly one in five care coordinators say that, as a result of helping someone navigate care they had to take time off work (23% among those employed) and their own health suffered (19%).

When care is received, patients don’t always feel listened to or seen.

  • 64% wish healthcare providers took more time to understand them; 49% say they don’t always feel listened to by healthcare providers.
  • 67% say their health would improve if they regularly worked with a healthcare provider they trusted.
  • 54% say they would feel more comfortable seeing a healthcare provider who shares their background.
  • 54% say their health would improve if their healthcare providers helped them figure out the healthcare system.

The survey also asked respondents about their experiences with PAs and their perception of PAs’ potential to impact the healthcare system. Key findings include:

Patients who have seen a PA recognize the value that PAs bring to healthcare.

  • 91% say PAs provide safe and effective care.
  • 90% say PAs increase access to care/make it easier to get a medical appointment.
  • 89% say PAs improve patient outcomes.
  • 79% rate the medical care they received from a PA in the past 12 months as good or excellent.

Overall, people believe that PAs can make a difference in the system.

  • 92% support utilizing PAs to address healthcare workforce shortages.
  • 91% support updating PA practice laws to allow states and healthcare systems to fully utilize their healthcare workforce.

The research was conducted online in the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of The American Academy of Physician Associates among 2,519 US adults aged 18 years or older. The survey was conducted from February 23 – March 9, 2023.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest.

For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Jenni Roberson, AAPA Director, Media Relations.


Media Contacts:
Jenni Roberson, 703.380.2764
Josh Birch, 443.614.5896

About AAPA
AAPA is the national membership organization for all PAs (physician associates/physician assistants). PAs are licensed clinicians who practice medicine in every specialty and setting. Trusted, rigorously educated and trained healthcare professionals, PAs are dedicated to expanding access to care and transforming health and wellness through patient-centered, team-based medical practice. PA has been named one of the best jobs overall and one of the best healthcare jobs for the sixth year in a row by U.S. News & World Report. Learn more about the profession at aapa.org and engage through FacebookLinkedInInstagram, and Twitter.

About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. It works with clients in three primary areas: building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. One of the longest-running surveys in the U.S., The Harris Poll has tracked public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963, and is now part of Stagwell, the challenger holding company built to transform marketing.